Sunday, November 23, 2008

Poll Results: Shortmystery and Grouply

In accordance with a group vote of 51 FOR, 2 AGAINST, I have changed Shortmystery's settings via Grouply Owner Controls:

- I have disabled Grouply invitations, which means no member of Grouply will be able to post invitations to Shortymystery or invite Shortmystery members individually.

- I have unlisted Shortmystery's name at Grouply.

- I have blocked access to Shortmystery from Grouply.

- I have requested that all Shortmystery messages currently on Grouply be deleted. This deletion will take up to 48 hours.

As I've mentioned, I don't trust Grouply to follow through, but at least we've made the attempt. If you continue to receive messages from Grouply, know that I have made these changes, and as always, messages from Grouply are NOT AUTHORIZED by me.


Onlist threads discussing Grouply:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer Procedure

In 1999, Edward D. Hoch received the Society's first Golden Derringer for Lifetime Achievement, followed by Henry Slesar (2000) and John Lutz (2001).

At his passing in 2008, with more than 900 published mystery & crime stories to his credit, Ed Hoch was considered the most prolific writer of the form. With the permission of his wife, Patricia Hoch, the Society resumed giving the Golden Derringer in 2009, renamed the Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer. Its first recipient was Clark Howard.

The Society further honored Hoch in 2010, with induction to its Short Mystery Fiction Hall of Fame.

The Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer procedure was drafted by 2008–10 Vice President Jim Doherty and ratified by group vote. See Derringer Award results for the full record of recipients and acceptance remarks.

1) The Short Mystery Fiction Society (hereafter, the "SMFS") shall give an annual award for Lifetime Achievement, to be called the Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer (hereafter, "the award").

2) The recipient of the award shall be selected by a special committee.

3) The committee shall consist of the following members:

a) The SMFS President, who shall serve as the committee's chairman.
b) The SMFS Vice-President
c) The SMFS Derringer Coordinator

All of the above committee members shall serve for the duration of their terms of office.

In addition, there shall be two more committee members selected:

d) A Permanent Member, who shall serve for life or for as long as s/he chooses to serve. The permanent member should be selected on the basis of his/her long-standing membership in the SMFS (if possible a founding or charter member should be chosen), and his/her broad knowledge of the mystery genre in general and the mystery short story in particular. The permanent member's function, in addition to being a voting member, is, first, to provide some long-term continuity to the committee, and, second, to bring to the committee a sense of historical perspective and institutional memory. The permanent member shall be proposed by the SMFS President, based on suggestions from members and his/her own judgment, and ratified by the general membership.
e) A member selected from the general membership, chosen at random from among those rank-and-file members volunteering for the position. This member shall serve for one year. His/her fuction, in addtion to being a voting member, is, first, to insure that the rank-and-file membership has some say in the selection, and, second, to bring the total membership of the committee to an odd number, thus insuring against tie votes.

4) a) The criteria for selecting a recipient should be having produced an impressive body of short crime fiction, and having made a major impact on the genre.
b) The award should be reserved for writers, not editors, who may be honored by other awards. Notwithstanding this, if a candidate, who is a writer, is also well-known as an editor, and his/her editing is part of what has made a major impact on the genre, the committee shall be free to consider this aspect of the candidate's career in making the selection.
c) Candidates who are better-known as novelists than as short story writers, but who have nevertheless produced an impressive body of short fiction, shall not be barred from consideration because they are primarily perceived as novelists.
d) The lack of recent productivity shall not be regarded as a bar to consideration, as long as the work produced when the candidate was active meets the criteria described above.
e) Only living candidates should be considered, with the exception that if a candidate was alive at the time deliberations began, but died while they were going on, in such a case the award might be given posthumously.

5) The deliberations of the committee shall be kept strictly confidential, and all members must agree to this, each year, prior to the beginning of deliberations.

6) Nominations from the general membership shall be encouraged. Nominations shall take the form of short essay of no more than 200 words, sent to the SMFS President, in his/her capacity as the chairman of the committee, OFF-LIST. It should not be construed, however, that the candidate who has the most nominations, or who is the subject of the best-written nomination, shall be chosen. The committee members shall seriously consider nominations from the general membership, but are free to ultimately choose any candidate they consider worthy, even if no one from the general membership nominated that particular candidate. In other words, nominations from the general membership are suggestions, not mandates.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Poll Results: Golden Derringer Procedure

By a margin of 35-4 votes, members have adopted a procedure to determine recipients of the Short Mystery Fiction Society's lifetime achievement award, the Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Ongoing Derringer Debate

I offer this response to various reactions to ongoing debate of the SMFS Derringer Awards. Any organization that gives awards constantly debates fairness. For now, the SMFS has tried to document its fairness with the recent rules change. In the continuing interest of fairness we may need to change things in the future, but we won't realize anything needs to be done if we stop discussion.

For example, the previous regular Derringer process was to sign up to a separate group just to read the Derringer stories, and voting involved e-mailing two volunteer vote counters. In the current process, the Derringer stories are posted to Shortmystery's Files section and the votes are counted by polls created in Shortmystery—allowing a greater portion of the group to find the stories and vote. The change would have never been made if no one brought it up. And if no one brought it up, I'm sure quite a few people would have stood by the previous process because "it's the way we've always done things."

So as heated as these debates get, I see them as ultimately helpful to the SMFS.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Poll Results: Derringer Eligibility for SMFS Officers

By a margin of 38 to 30 votes, SMFS members have voted to amend the Derringer Rules as follows:

To avoid the appearance of any impropriety, Officers of the SMFS executive (president, vice-president, secretary and awards coordinator) will not be eligible for consideration for the Derringers during the terms of their office.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

How Shortmystery will fight spam

Jim Doherty and I have come up with a policy to deal with the listserv equivalent of spam:

If a post 1) comes from someone unfamiliar to us, who is on moderated status, 2) sounds too canned, and 3) shows no desire to be a part of the community, we will reject it.

Obviously, a long-standing member, talking about a new service, or a new publication s/he's starting, or passing along info on such a service/publication, would be not only welcome to do so, but encouraged to do so.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Under Review: SMFS officials' eligibility for Derringer Awards

A two-week discussion period began August 2 on whether the SMFS President, Vice President, and Derringer Coordinator should by rule be ineligible to win Derringer Awards during their terms in office.

The motion as worded by Kevin Burton Smith, seconded by Kevin R. Tipple:

To avoid the appearance of any impropriety, Officers of the SMFS executive (president, vice-president, secretary and awards coordinator) will not be eligible for consideration for the Derringers during the terms of their office.


Onlist discussion ends Saturday, August 16, followed by two weeks for a group vote.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New SMFS Site Layout

The following site layout was approved by group vote ending July 29, 2008

Statement of Purpose

The Short Mystery Fiction Society is a worldwide group of writers, editors, publishers and readers. Through informative discussions, publicity efforts, and annual awards, we promote the creation, publication, and appreciation of short crime and mystery fiction.


Join Us

Subscribe to the free Shortmystery Yahoo! Group. Send an e-mail to Shortmystery-subscribe@yahoogroups.com or visit the Shortmystery subscription page.


The current front page descriptions of the Derringer Awards and officers' roles will be shifted to the "Awards" and "Officers" pages respectively. The more informal description of the group will be on a new "Members' Welcome" page.

Members' Welcome

The Short Mystery Fiction Society includes wonderful and friendly people across the USA and Canada, the UK, India, South America, Australia and other exotic lands.

SMFS members engage in daily discussions about short mystery and crime fiction in particular and fiction writing in general. Ask questions about crime scene technology, police procedures, how PIs really operate, the best way to poison someone, how long does a dead body stay warm, or any other genre-related topic. You'll get answers from qualified experts in the field or from fellow SMFSers who have researched and written about it.

Have a problem with a story you're working on? Not sure how to develop a plot, plant clues and red herrings, add substance and life to your characters? Ask and you'll get help from others who struggle through the same problems with every story they write, whether it's their first or their hundred and first.

Members of SMFS also share information about where the best stories can be found for your reading pleasure, as well as where and how to submit your own stories for publication in this ever-evolving marketplace.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Poll Results: Site Layout, Web Archive, Golden Derringer

Polls on the following issues are now closed:

1) Whether to adopt the proposed new site layout

By a margin of 58-20 votes, the proposed new layout is adopted.

2) Whether to make the list Web archive private

By a margin of 56-28 votes, the Web archive is made private.

3) Whether to rename the Golden Derringer lifetime achievement award in honor of Edward D. Hoch

By a margin of 73-14 votes, the Golden Derringer is renamed the Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Problems Accessing Yahoo! Groups?

If you receive group e-mail but are unable to visit our Yahoo! Groups site or vote in the polls -

Here are two Yahoo! help links:

Q: I'm receiving email from a group, but when I try to visit the group's webpages, it says that I "need to enable web access".

Q: I get Group email, but I’m not in the Member list and I don’t see the Group when I sign into groups.yahoo.com -- what’s up?

If you are in the Member list and can access the Yahoo! Groups site, but have not received messages as expected -

Your account may be "bouncing".

If you are in the Member list and have web access but have not received group email for some time and cannot access the Yahoo! Groups site specifically -

Yahoo! Groups delivery may be delayed or the site may be down. Visit the Official Yahoo! Groups Blog for the most current information.


If you're having an issue not covered above -

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

SMFS Has Patricia Hoch's Permission to Rename Golden Derringer

The SMFS today received permission from Edward D. Hoch's wife Patricia to rename its Golden Derringer Award for Lifetime Achievement in Short Mystery Fiction "The Edward D. Hoch Golden Derringer." SMFS members are voting on this issue.

List Guidelines at Work: More on Trimming Posts

From the Shortmystery FAQ:

When posting, avoid irrelevant quoting (e.g. entire messages or digests) and long signature files. These are wastes of network bandwidth, causing slower dowloads.


Trimming a post (or, more often, a reply) is deleting anything extraneous to the point you are trying to make with your message.

When you create a reply with most e-mail software, the message you are replying to is often automatically quoted. If you are not replying to everything in an original message, there is no need to quote the entire message. You can delete the parts you're not addressing.

Trimming also applies to the signature lines or ads added by many ad-supported e-mail services (Yahoo!, Hotmail, Netzero).

My opinion on trimming posts is similar to mine on congrats and thanks.

It makes no difference whether a post is individual or digest; trimming a post shows I take more care with it, like taking the "trouble" to send private congrats. It shows I don't want to bother others with anything irrelevant to my post. I wouldn't include anything irrelevant if I were giving a speech or writing a letter. I give e-mail the same attention.

I make it an easy-to-read dialogue. Quote the original poster in angle brackets, then give my response without brackets:

<< Text from original message. >>

My response.

Monday, July 14, 2008

List Guidelines at Work: Offlist Dealings

The reason I direct people to send their questions of list policy and personal disputes offlist is I can often answer them without inconveniencing the members who don't want to see the list bogged down in policy. I bring matters to the list's attention when I believe members' input will be valuable or the issue is important enough that members should be made aware.

List Guidelines at Work: More on Congratulations and Thanks

If I may inject an opinion on congrats and thanks, I don't see how public congrats and thanks are better than private congrats and thanks. Public congrats makes sense if the one congratulated was too shy to mention his accomplishment himself onlist, but otherwise congrats can come off as the congratulator trying to score appearance points.

Likewise public thanks make sense if the thanker has no other means of communicating with the congratulator, but otherwise it can be done just as well offlist.

The way I see it—more opinion—if one were really sincere in wanting to congratulate another, the congratulator wouldn't mind the "trouble" of a private message. Onlist congrats can have the feeling of piggybacking and can be pretty hollow, and a cookie-cutter congratulations most often elicits a cookie-cutter thanks.

As a congratulator, when searching the list for publication announcements also check whether an announcement has already received congrats. If so, please send your congrats privately.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Moderated Status

You will occasionally see the term "moderated status" onlist. When on moderated status, a member's posts are subject to moderator approval before they reach the list.

People first joining Shortmystery begin on moderated status until a moderator determines they are actually interested in Shortmystery and not simply spammers.

Moderated status is also applied if a member's posts devolve from reasoned argument to impulsive reaction (insults, etc.), or if any spam is sent from a member's account.

Regular posting status is restored when the member returns to reasoned argument or the member's account proves to be spam-free.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Under Review: Should list archives be made private?

The Shortmystery message archive is currently readable by non-member visitors to the Yahoo! Groups site. Should we make the archive private so only members can read the messages by signing in?

A group vote on this is forthcoming.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

SMFS Official Time

The official time as relates to all list deadlines and events is U.S. Eastern. This will be specified on all time-sensitive announcements.

For your reference, the current U.S. Eastern date and time:

Under Review: Statement of Purpose

SMFS membership is currently discussing proposed rephrasing of its statement of purpose. To prepare for the onlist discussion, read the existing statement and the proposed rephrased statement.

Onlist discussion of the proposal runs through July 14, with a group vote July 15-29.

Existing Statement of Purpose

Below is a copy of the SMFS's existing statement of purpose at http://www.shortmystery.net. It is currently under review by the members along with a proposed, reworded statement. A group vote on which statement to adopt will take place July 15, 2008.


STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

The Short Mystery Fiction Society seeks to actively recognize writers and readers who promote and support the creative artform of short mysteries in the press, in other mystery organizations, and through awards.

The Short Mystery Fiction Society is an email list group of writers, readers, fans, editors and publishers of mystery and crime fiction from all around the globe. Membership includes wonderful and friendly people across the USA and Canada, the UK, India, South America, Australia and other exotic lands.

SMFS members engage in daily discussions about short mystery and crime fiction in particular and fiction writing in general. Ask questions about crime scene technology, police procedures, how PIs really operate, the best way to poison someone, how long does a dead body stay warm, or any other genre-related topic. You'll get answers from qualified experts in the field or from fellow SMFsters who have researched and written about it.

Have a problem with a story you're working on? Not sure how to develop a plot, plant clues and red herrings, add substance and life to your characters? Ask and you'll get help from others who struggle through the same problems with every story they write, whether it's their first or their hundred and first.

Members of SMFS also share information about where the best stories can be found for your reading pleasure, as well as where and how to submit your own stories for publication in this ever-evolving marketplace.


THE DERRINGER AWARDS

You'll also participate in choosing the best mystery stories published each year. The annual Derringer Awards were created by the Short Mystery Fiction Society in 1997 to honor excellence in the field of short mystery fiction. The name "Derringer," after the palm-sized handgun, was chosen as a metaphor for a mystery or crime short story-small, but deadly.

Any mystery or crime story published in a professional print or electronic magazine or book length anthology is eligible for a Derringer. The author does not have to be a member of SMFS to be considered. Winners in each category are chosen by SMFS member vote.


OFFICERS OF THE SOCIETY

SMFS has two officers, elected every two years through a nomination and voting process by members.


TO PARTICIPATE

To join the Short Mystery Fiction Society, send an email to:
Shortmystery-subscribe@ yahoogroups.com

Or simply visit our discussion list web page.

Then, sit back, relax and join in. There are no membership dues, no dumb questions and no wrong opinions. It's all about sharing a common interest in mystery and crime fiction with friends.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Group FAQ / Guidelines

Compiled by Gerald So, SMFS President (2008-2010)



What is the Short Mystery Fiction Society?

A group for anyone who writes, edits, publishes, or just enjoys short mystery/crime stories. Join us via the Shortmystery Yahoo! Group.

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Boundaries of Discussion

We aim for a discussion open to any aspect of short mystery fiction, equally worthwhile to authors, editors, publishers, and fans.

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Reading, Posting, and Replying to Shortmystery

You must subscribe to receive messages by e-mail and to post your own. You must sign in to Yahoo! Groups to read our messages via the Web.

Yahoo! Groups and most e-mail programs automatically quote entire messages when you hit "Reply". In order to keep our messages and digests quickly downloadable for members with varying Internet access speeds, please quote only the specific points to which you are replying. Delete any extraneous text and and keep signature lines short.

Do not post works of fiction, whole or excerpted, to the list. Posting is a form of publishing and may cost you rights as author or violate another author's copyright.

For the same reasons, do not post entire nonfiction articles or interviews to the list. Instead, please quote with attribution. Comment, paraphrase, and provide URLs to the full text stored elsewhere.

Automated invitations (such as those sent by various social networking sites to a member's entire address book) should not be posted to Shortmystery. If an invitation is unintentionally sent to the list, the sending member's account will be placed on moderated status to prevent further invitations from reaching the list until the member addresses the problem independently.

Regarding the tone of discussion, the SMFS officers cannot police every phrase that may possibly offend a member. They would be injecting their sensibilities where they may not be correct or welcome. Members bear personal responsibility for the content of their posts. You are encouraged to use individual judgment regarding whom to heed or ignore, to what degree, and when to send a message offlist if at all.

However, if a member's posts devolve from reasoned argument to impulsive reaction, that is cause to be placed on moderated status, whereupon the member's posts must be approved by an SMFS officer before reaching the list. Moderated members will be returned to normal posting status when a sufficient number of their posts show reasoned argument.

If anyone wants an officer's opinion on the tone of posts, feel free to ask offlist.

The privacy of this discussion group is strictly enforced. Any member found to have forwarded or published messages offlist without the author's permission will be banned.

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BSP (Blatant Self-Promotion)

Though it has come to refer to almost any self-announcement, BSP's negative connotation—tacky advertising—is still discouraged on most forums, including Shortmystery. The best way to avoid this tone in your posts is to become genuinely involved in the group.

ACCEPTABLE: "Read my story X in the latest issue of Y Magazine."

UNACCEPTABLE: "BUY MY MINT-CONDITION BASEBALL CARDS!"

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Congratulations and Thanks

As a community of writers, it's natural to want to congratulate each other's successes or send thanks in turn; however, doing so onlist can grow to disrupt or even overwhelm other topics. Consider sending congratulations and thanks offlist for that personal touch.

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The Derringer Awards

The Derringer Awards are presented by the SMFS every May to recognize the best published stories of the previous year.

To be eligible to vote for the Derringers in a given year, you must have joined Shortmystery before February 1st of that year.

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Service Advisories

I will post notices of Yahoo! Groups downtime to the list if possible. If I am unable to use the list to keep members informed, I will post advisories to this blog.

You can also check the official Yahoo! Groups blog.

If the list seems operational but you aren't receiving our messages or are having difficulty with any Yahoo! Groups features, feel free to contact me and I'll look into it.

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

2008 Derringer Award Results

The Short Mystery Fiction Society's 2008 Derringer Awards results were determined by a vote of the membership at large after member-volunteer judges narrowed the submissions to finalists. Winners bolded:

Best Flash (Up to 1,000 words)
  • "My Hero" by Patricia Abbott (D.Z. Allen’s Muzzle Flash)
  • "A Woman Scorned" by Jillian Berg (Mouth Full of Bullets)
  • "Saved" by Keri Clark (Mysterical-E)
  • "Your New Fan" by Keri Clark (Mouth Full of Bullets)
  • "Dreaming of a Spite Christmas" by B.V. Lawson (Mouth Full of Bullets)

Best Short Story (1,001–4,000 words)
  • "In the Shadows of Wrigley Field" by John Weagly (The Back Alley)
  • "Handful of Stars" by Jack Hardway (Mouth Full of Bullets)
  • "The Promise" by Camille LaGuire (Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine)
  • "We All Come from Splattertown" by Hugh Lessig (Thuglit)
  • "Joyride" by Rick Noetzel (Shred of Evidence)
  • "Brimstone P.I." by Beverle Graves Myers (Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine)

Best Long Story (4,001–8,000 words)

Best Novelette (8,001–17,500 words)
  • "Paper Walls/Glass Houses" by Eric Shane (The Back Alley)
  • "The Enlightenment of Magnus McKay" by John Burdett (Wall Street Noir)
  • "Forget Me Not" by Clifford Royal Johns (Mysterical-E)
  • "The Bookworm’s Demise" by Beverle Graves Myers (Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine)
  • "Wasting Assets" by Mike Wiecek (Alfred Hitchcock'a Mystery Magazine)